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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Takeaways from Week 2 of Vikings OTAs

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings were back on the practice field Wednesday for Week 2 of OTAs. Here are the key takeaways from the workout and post-practice comments…

Barr returns

After missing the first week of OTAs, Anthony Barr was back on the field – with an insurance policy. Barr said he skipped last week because he was waiting for paperwork to be finalized on a policy that would protect him in case of injury during offseason workouts. He is a free agent after this season and said he had hoped to get a contract done before OTAs.

The Vikings likely want to sign Barr to a long-term deal, but it’s possible the two sides have different ideas of his worth. Earlier this offseason, Eric Kendricks inked a deal for five years worth $50 million. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Vikings wanted a very similar deal for Barr, but the former first-rounder may see himself as more valuable – or at least see the possibility of landing a bigger deal if he hits the open market.

“It’s voluntary and he was able to take care of what he needed to take care of and we’re moving on,” head coach Mike Zimmer said.

Thielen’s chemistry with Cousins

Adam Thielen had no problems adapting quarterbacks last year, jumping from 69 catches in 2016 with Sam Bradford to 91 receptions with Case Keenum last year. He will have to now adjust to Kirk Cousins’ skill set. Thielen and Stefon Diggs got started early on that process this offseason by getting together with Cousins in Atlanta to work out.

“I think the biggest thing was learning his personality,” Thielen said. “We did get some stuff on the field and learned what he likes. We learned how he likes certain routes run. Every quarterback is a little different with that.”

“I think people underestimate how much time, how much effort, how much repetition it takes to get on the same page with a quarterback,” Thielen added.

Cousins was characteristically enthusiastic on Wednesday, fist pumping for completions and diving into the end zone during a goal line drill.

“I think the big thing for him is when you emphasize something and you finally get it done and you finally get on the same page with a wide receiver, it’s exciting and that’s why we do this, that’s why we come to OTAs,” Thielen said.

Cousins getting comfortable

Kirk Cousins has the difficult task of assimilating himself into the Vikings’ organization while taking a leadership role, learning John DeFilippo’s offense and getting comfortable with his head coach. Zimmer talked about wanting to find ways to get to know his franchise QB.

“I have to develop a relationship with him,” Zimmer said. “I have to be able to sit down and talk to him about things that I think, things about the team. I’ve had some good conversations with him. It’s just getting comfortable around everything. When you go to a new place and all the players are new, all the coaches are new, the install is new, the snap count is new, everything is different, it just takes some time.”

“I’ve come a long ways in about six weeks but there’s still a long way to go,” Cousins added. “That’s to be expected. No surprise. It helps that the organization, the locker room has welcomed me with open arms.”

Treadwell with the first team

Laquon Treadwell held down a regular role for most of 2017 but saw his playing time slip down the stretch and in the playoffs. At the NFL Combine, Zimmer had some blunt comments for the team’s former first-round pick. On Wednesday, after Treadwell received first-team reps throughout the practice, Zimmer said he feels Treadwell is taking a different mental approach.

“Today he had two really nice catches in the red zone,” Zimmer said. “He’s continually getting better. I think he’s stopped being so hard on himself and he’s just letting it flow now.”

Free agent signee Kendall Wright mostly spent time with the second team. Tavarres King took a few reps with the ones.

Red zone

The team spent a high percentage of Wednesday’s practice on red zone drills. Last season the Vikings ranked 12th in red zone touchdown percentage.

“It’s been good. We spent a awful lot of time in the [red zone],” Zimmer said. “I think this is our fourth day in the red zone of some sort out of five. I think it’s important we get a lot of work in there. We put a big emphasis on it last year.”

Cousins’ former club was 16th in 2017. The Vikings’ new QB said he appreciates Zimmer’s focus on big spots in games.

“NFL football, I’ve learned, is so much situationally based,” Cousins said. “We have to practice third downs, red zone third downs, two minute. We have to be really good in situational football. Coach Zimmer does a great job of emphasizing those pivotal moments in games.”

Alexander and Hughes

Mackensie Alexander took the majority of first-team reps at nickel corner on Wednesday. He and first-round pick Mike Hughes split time there last week. It appears they will battle for the position throughout the offseason and in preseason.

“He’s got excellent acceleration and quickness, he wants to learn all the time,” Zimmer said of Hughes. “He’s catching a lot of punts and kickoffs. The thing I notice the most is the lateral quickness.”

Remmers playing guard

True to his word, Zimmer gave Remmers reps at right guard with Rashod Hill playing right tackle on Wednesday. Tom Compton played left guard and Nick Easton was at center because of Pat Elflein’s absence. Elflein is still recovering from an injury suffered in the NFC Championship game. Danny Isidora also saw some time at left guard.

Brian O’Neill worked with the second team. Until they have pads on at training camp, it will be difficult to get a feel for whether O’Neill has a shot to compete with Hill/Remmers for the starting right tackle gig.

Not participating

The following players were not practicing: Everson Griffen, Calvin Cool, Devante Davis, Tray Matthews, Stacy Coley, Pat Elflein, Andrew Sendejo, Tyler Conklin, Roc Thomas, Jeff Badet

The @Vikings continued their OTAs this morning at TCO Performance Center. Take a look at some of the work they are putting in.

— KSTPSports (@KSTPSports) May 30, 2018

The post Takeaways from Week 2 of Vikings OTAs appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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